Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why I don't write to authors

Ok, on the whole blogging authors thing. I read the blogs, and quite often I get a sense of liking for the novelists. And I definitely like their work. And then I read all these comments on their blogs, or read them talking about all of the email they've received, and I'm always just thinking "how do they do that?" What I mean is, how do the fans convince themselves to write to the authors? Now I don't mean to put anyone down who does this - some very dear friends have donet his with great success. But I just can't. Pearhaps three reasons for this. First, I'm really shy. Yup. There ya have it. Shy Shifter. Nothing much more to say on that one. It embarrasses me.

Next, I'm always certain that anything that I say to someone like that, someone as visible as that, will have already been said by about a hundred other people, and probably better. And so anything I would say in my email, or comment, will sound like a lame "me 2" or "what she said." In fact, and this is not a joke, I once met an author in my field who I quite admired. I was standing in line for him to sign a book and the person in front of me gushed quite eloquently about how much she loved his work, how much it meant to her, and all that. So then it was my turn, and she had already said all the cool stuff! My mind was a total blank. So I literally looked at him and said "Uhm, what she said" and kind of pointed at the lady who had just finished gushing. He didn't laugh. So I made up some other effusive thing to say and he said thanks and we went our separate ways, both a bit relieved that that was over I think.

As an interesting footnote, I later got to have lunch with this same author (by later I mean 3 years later) and turns out he's a very nice guy who was probably as uncomfortable with hero worship as I was with having a hero. Turns out he did triathalons, big into biking. We talked, it was nice, and then about 3 months later he died. Heart attack, very sudden. Boom.

And that true story brings us to point number three of why I don't contact writers. They die afterward. Here's another true story. The only time I've ever emailed an author was when I emailed David Feintuch. Really great SF writer, in my opinion, especially his first 4 books. And I came across him online, and I felt gutsy, and I sent him an email saying something about how I loved his work, and why, and that I didn't like to write people because I thought I'd sound like everyone else. And he actually wrote me back (which was a shocker) and said essentially "actually, you don't sound like everyone else." And I was thrilled. And then about three months later ... wait for it ... he died. No kidding. Can't remember how he died, just that he died, and no more Nick Seafort books! Doh!

So the final reason I don't write authors is that I don't want to imperil them. I am the unabomber of fiction fans. I am the plague taking first born authors in the night. You don't want me to write Neil Gaiman, or any of your favorite writers. I don't write them, not just for their sake, not just for mine, but for yours as well. To not deprive you of these talented people. You're welcome.

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